Sunday, January 31, 2010

Martha & Me dinner and other things

 Second in my series of dinners from the Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home cookbook is her dinner of:

Tart Apple Bistro Salad
Hanger Steak with Caramelized Shallots
Oven Baked Shoestring Fries
Carmel Pudding


Here's a photo of my ending product!  Looks like a massive serving of potatos - must have been my husband's serving (he love's potatoes!).  

First I had to find Hanger Steak so I went to one of our good groceries - Busch's here in Ann Arbor.  I asked the meat market person and she had to go in the back to ask another butcher (maybe she wasn't a butcher).  Then she took me to the meat area where things are packaged up and found a package called "skirt steak."  So I guess that is similar.  It reminded me of Flank Steak, probably a less expensive model.  Anyway, the hanger steak started out with caramelized shallots.  I had not used shallots before but found those at the store and they were quite tasty carmelized prior to cooking the steak in the same pan.  I use our big black iron griddle.  

The salad - Tart Apple Bistro salad was suppose to have romaine lettuce and frisee but I skipped the frisee.  Granny apples were the tart apples.  The dressing was delicious and easy to whip up.  

Now the next part was hard - oven baked shoestring fries.  I was suppose to use a "mandoline" to cut the potatoes into the shoestring shape.  But I don't have a mandoline (not the musical intrument) so we just used our box gratter (my husband helped with this chore as I was about to do mashed potatoes instead!).  So the shoestrings were not long shoestrings, but were shorter and chunkier.  They were baked in the oven  and were very good.  But my photo does not look like the photo in Dinner at Home cookbook!  

I had thought about having company to share this meal with us but decided not to and am kind of glad I didn't.  I was in a flurry after trying to get everything completed at one time.  And as you'll see the dessert didn't exactly come out as planned.

The dessert was Caramel Pudding.  This one used gelatin with the eggs and cream and that part was really delicious.  It was the caramel which was problematic.  We love creme caramel and this is similar.  I guess I must have overcooked the caramel as first, after melting the sugar, then setting it aside as mentioned, it got hard.  So I re-melted it and thought that was ok.  Well, after putting the caramel over the top of the custard and coming back later, the caramel was hard on top!  So even though the custard was very good, my caramel topping was like hard candy!  

All in all, it was a good meal.  It is always fun to learn some new things in my cooking!  And to buy and utilize some ingredients that I usually would not pick.  State tune for the next Martha & Me blog!


And to change things here - last week I worked at the Plymouth, Michigan Ice Festival.  My job was with the Puppy Mill Awareness Group to talk about how puppy mills are not good places.  Do not buy your dogs/cats from pet stores who get their animals from the puppy mill where they are raised in small cages under poor conditions.  This was also in conjunction with the Humane Society of Huron Valley here in Ann Arbor where I volunteer as a dog walker.  It was freezing cold (even though it was in the 30's last weekend).  After standing around for 2 hours you get kind of chilled but it was interesting to talk to the public about puppy mills and animals. I was chilled the rest of the day!  Here are some photos of the ice festival and Rudolph the real dog from a puppy mill who goes around with his owner talking to schoolkids about the subject.  Rudolph is blind and deaf so has to use his nose -- thus the name Rudolph.  


And I took some photos of someone carving a sculpture and a couple animals!

Next blog I will show some of my Valentine's Day beads and jewelry!  At the top is my heart with a frog on it -- I think he is cute.
Check out my web site for more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nancy & Martha

In December I went to Las Vegas with my husband for his conference.  While there I went to a book signing of Martha Stewart's new cookbook:  Dinner at Home.

After standing in line for three hours (thank goodness it was Las Vegas and not Ann Arbor in December!) I made it in to get an autograph on the cookbook.  We were told she would not pose for photos with us nor personalize the signature.  But she was very gracious and chatted with everybody.  She was very nice and pretty; much nicer looking than on TV!   Above, she is talking to TV cameras in Las Vegas before she started signing books.

In the photos above,  Martha Stewart is signing books.  We could go to the "Photograph Area" and take a picture.  And I also show the line that went on and on outside the Williams Sonoma shop where the book signing took place.  Since I was in the front of the line I had my book signed and even had gone to lunch and then come out to see the line continuing!

The photo above is of the appetizer set that I made for Ms. Stewart with lampwork glass beads.  I used a color that I call "Martha Stewart Green" (hey, I watch a lot of the Martha Stewart Show!!).  You could not give your present directly to her so I don't even know if she received it!  But I put it in a Beaver Island Jewelry box and bag and put my business card with it. I had to give my present to someone before I got my cookbook signed.   I suppose she receives lots of gifts.

So, I got my autographed copy of Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home and went back to Michigan clutching my copy.  Later in the month we watched the movie Julie & Julia where Julie went through the Julia Child French Cooking Cookbook and made all the dishes.  Ahhhh Haaaaa!  I decided I should try making the menus in my new Martha cookbook!  (Much to my husband's delight!). Winters are long and dark here in Michigan!!

The cookbook is nicely sectioned into seasons and has complete menus.  Since it was winter, I started off with the Winter section.  Each menu is complete.  It has an entree, salad and desert.   The first menu in the Winter Section  consisted of:

Creamy Oyster Soup
Crisp Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Celery Root and Walnut Salad,
Pear and Dried Cherry Baked Custard.

The salad called for celery root which I had never heard of nor seen.  It was lucky that my grocery store had it marked as such!  Here it is in it's raw form and then the salad.


My husband did not care for the Celery Root Salad although I thought it was good and the dog enjoyed some raw celery root.  The sandwiches were great, the oyster soup good and the custard very good.  My husband gave my menu a "8 out of 10" on his scale!

That was my first Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home menu attempt.  More later as I try other menus!  Don't know if I will get through the whole book but that is my goal.

Please visit my website at Beaver Island Jewelry to see lampworked appetizer sets such as shown here in my blog along with other lampwork bead items. 


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Advertising and Shops

I have been advertising in the Ann Arbor Observer lately (Ann Arbor, Michigan); February will be my second time. Since I am not well known in Ann Arbor I thought I should advertise somewhere. I have always enjoyed reading the Ann Arbor Observer and the ads are cool.   Our newspaper, the Ann Arbor News, went out of business this past year so I thought about the local monthly paper, the Ann Arbor Observer.  It is quite expensive to advertise I am finding out and we'll see about results - I should give it some time.  So, if you have seen my ad in the Ann Arbor Observer please let me know what you think!

I am more well known as a beadmaker/jewelry designer on Beaver Island.  For several years I have been advertising in the Beaver Beacon on Beaver Island.  This is also a monthly paper.  And I have items for sale at Livingstone Studio on Beaver Island, seasonally.  I know people see my ads because they remark upon them to me when they see me on the island. 


For several months I have also had items for sale at The Side Door Gallery which is in the Dexter Picture Frame Gallery, on Main Street, in Dexter, Michigan.  The Bier Gallery south of Charlevoix, Michigan, also carries some of my jewelry. 

Since I am a one person operation it is hard to know how many shops I should try to get to carry my jewelry.  How busy do I want to be?  Other than my jewelry/lampwork business right now I am retired. 

Kind of rambling thoughts today! 


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Simple Lampwork Necklaces

Happy New Year everyone!  My goal this year is to keep my blog updated more frequently!

Today I just wanted to show some simple necklaces.  Some people don't want a lot of "doodads" on their necklaces or just want a nice necklace to wear with a t-shirt.  I like to wear some type of necklace with my casual t-shirts so will show some ideas here.

This photo shows one of my Treasure Necklaces which are made in different colors.  This one is black/ivory and turquoise.  There are two charms hanging from the leather cord along with various shapes of beads.  It is great for wearing with a turtleneck or something similar.  See my website for more Treasure Necklaces.

This is a lampwork leaf strung on a seed bead necklace.  Very simple but classy I think!  I make different leaves that I can put on a seed bead necklace or you can buy a leaf and string your own.  Even on a "fairy ribbon" it looks nice.

This is a lampwork starfish that is hung from a Chinese Cord.  These cords are colorful alternatives for hanging nice focal beads.  I love the starfish - you can see him on my website.  You could also dangle some more beads or charms here also. 

These are what I call "Ripple" beads - they are lampwork circles in various colors and they look great hanging on "fairy ribbons" which come in different colors.  As you can see they are very cute and colorful.  Or the circles can be subdued in browns and ivorys. 

This bead is attached to a silver chain by a stamped silver piece.  This piece is sold but it shows what can be done very easily with a nice focal bead, especially in this flat style.

Lastly I wanted to show a lampwork bead "stack".  I just put some beads together that are various shapes and colors and hung from a leather cord.  Fun to wear and watch the comments come in when you wear it!